We want to take away some of the confusion around social media content creation for business owners. If you’re only just getting into Social Media Marketing for your business, or have always done it ad-hoc and want to add some structure then it’s good to understand why it’s so important to Plan, Create and Schedule your social media content in advance. Firstly, your competitors are likely doing it and are therefore getting the competitive edge over you. With organic reach declining on social media thanks to paid ads and more focus being put on posts from friends and family, businesses need to create great content and be sharing regularly with their audiences. Secondly, planning your social media content calendar allows you time to get artwork created, decide on the types of content you will use, research your industry and key events or even just have the capacity to think of something great to post, rather than a rushed update because you suddenly realise your profiles have been neglected all month. Speaking of time, planning and scheduling can take time which means you need to allow your team or agency a suitable amount of notice to ensure everything gets posted with no silly mistakes.
By planning your Social Media Content in advance, you will be able to stay ahead of the game and the competition. Several companies leave Social Media to the last minute or only post now and then which isn’t the best way to utilise the audiences available to you. If you want to build engagement and brand awareness to increase sales then you need to be posting frequently and stay visible to your target audience.
6 Steps To Planning Social Media Content
1. Audit Existing Social Media Platforms
First things first, let’s take a look at the Social Media platforms you have set up for your business. Are you on all of the relevant platforms? The biggies are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn but you may want to consider others such as Pinterest or YouTube depending on the audiences most relevant to your products or services and the type of content you’re going to be producing. Your target audience may not be on your favourite social networks, spend the time researching which social media platform your target audience is on. Once you’ve committed to the social media platforms that you’re going to use, make sure they are all set up properly and you’re getting the most out of them. Here’s a quick checklist:
- Have you got a username that is relevant to your businesses? It’s best just to use your trading name.
- Are your profile pictures relevant and a suitable size for each individual platform?
- Have you completed all Bio, Contact Detail and About sections on all the social networks? Keep your key message consistent across each platform.
2. Audit Content
Next, take a look at your historic social media content and what types of content have worked well for you in the past. Have you seen huge results from Articles, Blog Posts or Videos perhaps? Consider this when planning your next few months’ worth of content.
3. Decide On A Planner Format
Before you start actually writing content for social media, you need to decide where you’re going to store it and any links/image notes. This will differ from business to business, especially depending on how many people are going to be using the document and adding content to be reviewed. It could be a simple spreadsheet, Google Doc or there are several websites available to plan online. Next, think about what you’re going to include in the content planner. Are you going to write bespoke content for each social media platform? Consider the character limit of Twitter and the tone of voice for each different social media platform and audience. Remember that links aren’t clickable on Instagram but you could do with using more hashtags than other platforms. Try starting with:
- Image / Image Notes
4. Key Dates
It’s now time to do a bit of research around your social media content. There are many ‘National Days’ that will be trending each month so take some time to see which ones are suitable for your business and write some relevant copy. Think about Bank Holidays, Easter, Christmas and similar national holidays. Popular holidays are a great way to create content that your audience will love. It’s also a good idea to research any industry events or even local term-times if your business has ties with parents, children or students. If you have a presence in your local community, take a look at what events are happening throughout the year and how you could promote or support them on your social media channels. This is the same if you sponsor a charity or a sports team. Facebook Events are a great way of seeing what is happing in your local area. Share these events to your page to promote other businesses/events.
How often will you be posting to each social media platform? If you’re planning on doing more than one Tweet, for example, a day then be sure to leave space in your planner to incorporate this. How often you post content on each of the social channels will depend on your overall marketing strategy, your current audience, your current engagement rate and how much content you actually have time to create or share.
It’s also important to consider the frequency of your content mix for social media. If you’re posting sales messages then you might only want to do this once a week in a direct manner. Look at clever ways to sell your product or service with behind the scenes posts or loyalty posts. Other types of content to consider are live video, blog posts, Q&A sessions with your audience and more topical, ‘fun’, content.
Consider the frequency of your planning time. Is your Social Media Planner going to be done monthly or maybe quarterly? Again, this will differ from business to business depending on how much time is available and how much content you’re able to plan ahead.
Finally, are you going to post manually or schedule your social media content? It’s strongly recommended that you schedule in advance which means you need to find a suitable platform that allows you to do this. When looking at scheduling platforms it’s important to consider how many Social Media accounts you need to connect and what the payment plan will be for this.
It’s the marketing version of the Chicken or the Egg scenario. What came first, the creative or the copy? It’s up to you whether you want to create the imagery first, perhaps you already have some amazing product photography, or write the copy and then source images after. It’s worth adding your key dates and your desired content mix to your planner before starting to build on the copy side of things just so you know what’s going where.
Nobody wants to see nothing but sales messages on a business’s Social Media so it’s important to plan these in advance and spread them out. Start with your most important messages and then add some helpful information or top tips into the mix to make the posts seem less pushy and more like you’re adding value.
If you have an event in the pipeline then think about doing social media posts before, during and after to gain the most traction and engagement. Extra brownie points if you can do a Facebook Live on the day of your event. If there is an event hashtag then use this on all of your posts to tie them together and reach other event-goers.
Videos are already huge on Social Media and will continue to grow. They are a super-easy way for your audience to consume information and an important part of your content mix if you’re able to include them. Video content is a great long-form piece of content and can be broken down into another type of content easily.
Call To Actions
Include a call to action in your copy to make it really easy for your audience to know what you’d like them to do next. This could be to comment below, visit your website or watch your video. A lot is going on social media, so don’t rely on your audience to instantly know.
Digital Tone Of Voice
Don’t just post the same old content that everyone else is sharing on social media, let your brand and your digital tone of voice influence your content and creative. This will allow you to stand out from the competition and keep your audience engaged.
The best way to ensure you stay on top of your Social Media Plan and make the most of the content that you’re creating is to schedule it in advance. This helps keep your content going out regularly and gives you more time to focus on the day-to-day. With this in mind, it’s also important to allow time for some ad-hoc content as and when trends change and topical news updates arise. To do this, find yourself a suitable Social Media Scheduling platform, for example, Feedalpha. What you need to know about feedalpha:
- Firstly feedalpha helps save you time with scheduled social media content, saving you precious time to be somewhere else.
- feedalpha reduces the need for google alerts or hours of searching for the perfect article to share.
- With feedalpha you get unlimited awesome content to share to your social media platforms.
How To Use Feedalpha
Start by connecting your Social Platforms:
Next, you can choose to create your own post or search for trending content:
If you choose to create your own post, you’ll see a creation box pop up. Here you can select which Social Media platform you’d like to publish to, upload your image and keep track of your character limit.
Add your picture, text, hashtags and any links you need.
If you choose to schedule your post, you can do this right down to the second!
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